A washout has forced the closure of State Highway 6 between Makarora and Haast as heavy rain again lashes the West Coast.

The NZ Transport Agency advised of the washout, near Diana Falls, early this afternoon.
The closure comes amid expected heavy rain, about two weeks after massive flooding washed out the bridge over the Waiho River further north on SH6, near Franz Josef. The bridge is expected to reopen on Friday this week.

MetService earlier warned of more heavy rain on the West Coast and in the Otago headwaters, saying it could trigger slips, flooding, road closures and detours today.

A moist northerly flow strengthened over the South Island yesterday, ahead of an active front forecast to move across the island from the west today, a MetService spokesman said.

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"This front delivers a period of heavy northerly rain to western parts of the South Island, with the heaviest falls expected in Fiordland north of Doubtful Sound and Westland south of Otira, where a heavy rain warning is now in force.

"People are advised to stay up to date with the latest forecasts in case new areas are added to the warning."